The Hannibal Hoots committed four errors and issued eight walks while struggling to gain traction offensively during a 7-1 home loss to Lafayette on Wednesday.
Clayton Hicks wasn't just upset the Hannibal Hoots lost 7-1 to Lafayette on Wednesday in a Prospect League game at Clemens Field.
The Hannibal manager felt his team beat itself.
The Hoots committed four costly errors and issued eight walks while struggling to gain traction offensively against the Aviators, who occupy last place in the West Division.
“We've had kind of a Cadillac, country club mentality lately, and my biggest thing in the world is losing and I can't stand it,” Hicks said. “Hopefully we wake up and get some guys moving in the right direction.”
Lafayette broke the game open with three runs on three hits in the top of the ninth. Before that, the visitors built their lead with unearned runs in three different innings.
Dylan Dodd started on the mound for Hannibal and gave up two runs (one earned) in a quest for his third win of the season.
Dodd stranded the bases loaded in the first inning before breezing his way into the fourth.
Matthew Patton hit a deep RBI double to center to give the Aviators a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth.
A Hannibal error extended the frame.
Lafayette scored its second run on a fielder's choice as the Hoots were a split-second late turning an inning-ending double play.
Dodd fired 68 pitches over his four innings of work.
“Dodd has done everything lately,” Hicks said of his standout, who finished 2-for-3 to raise his season batting average to .421. “We're trying to save as many bullets for him as we can. He didn't have his best control and best command tonight, but he found a way to limit the damage.”
Zach Gibbs took over on the mound for the Hoots in the fifth.
The Missouri State product surrendered just one unearned run over two innings in his summer debut.
“The pitching staff for the most part on the year has done really well, but we continually beat ourselves,” Hicks said. “It seems like we beat ourselves nine times out of 10 with errors or just not playing the game the right way."
Aaron Goecks put down a one-out bunt for Hannibal in the bottom of the fifth and reached third on a throwing error.
Sam Nozicka lifted a sacrifice fly to pull the Hoots to within 2-1.
That proved to be Hannibal's lone run of the loss.
Trevor Pittman tossed 4 2/3 innings for Lafayette while allowing just a single unearned tally to earn the win.
“His teammate at Kent State (Kevin Dobos) caught him for the first time this summer, so there was a level of security,” Aviators manager Will Arnold said of Pittman. “He threw pitches for strikes for most of the night.”
The hosts misplayed a grounder with two outs in the top of the sixth to surrender Lafayette's third tally. It was the second Hoots miscue of the inning.
In the bottom of the inning, Tye Thixton walked and Dodd beat out an infield single to put Hannibal runners on first and second with one out.
Michael Nielsen hit into a double play to thwart the threat.
“We can't get out of our own way at times,” Hicks said of the Hoots, who collected five hits while striking out nine times. “We continually do something that eliminates us from the game.”
Lafayette's Zach Heeke reached on an error in the eighth and moved to third with two outs.
Heeke took off running on a pitch by Richie Well and stole home as the ball got away.
“Honestly I wasn't even watching until I saw him slide,” Arnold said of Heeke stealing home. “Really heads-up player and we try to let the players play as much as we can. He took it upon himself.”
The final 10 Hannibal batters were retired in order to end the game.
Aviators reliever Trace Hoffman needed just seven pitches to record a scoreless bottom of the ninth.
“The guys are frustrated,” Hicks said. “You see the result of that in the ninth inning tonight. It had a dead feel in the dugout.”
Hannibal is scheduled to host Quincy on Thursday night.